FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Update 2/04/14: Sign SB126 Petition
SB 126 – South Dakota bill to establish common-sense standards for dairy farmers selling locally
|Follow the bill: SB 126
Senate Committee Hearing
Pierre, South Dakota–(January 30, 2014)—Sen. Phil Jensen (R-Rapid City) has introduced a bill to clarify and fix existing regulations for raw milk. The bill, SB 126, will repeal the inappropriately-used rules adopted in November 2013 by the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA), and replace them with regulations appropriate for farmers selling raw milk directly to consumers.
“To me it is a food freedom issue,” says Senator Jensen. “South Dakotans deserve to be able to produce and consume what they like without interference.”
The bill is in direct response to the rules passed by SDDA in November 2013 despite opposition by Dakota Rural Action and some members of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. Opponents of the rules, including raw milk producers and consumers, expressed significant concerns about the potential for abuse of raw milk producers if the rules were passed.
Two weeks ago, the Department of Agriculture confirmed those concerns were legitimate, as they improperly used their new authority to shut down a producer for the wrong species of listeria. “They messed up and listed only Listeria species on the original report, when they were supposed to be looking for Listeria monocytogenes, which is what the rules required,” says Trever Gilkerson, of Jerseydale Farms. “It turned out to be Listeria innocua, a harmless bacteria that actually attacks Listeria monocytogenes.”
Keeping in line with Governor Daugaard’s efforts to make South Dakota a pro-business state, this common-sense bill provides regulations appropriate to the raw milk farmer who runs a much smaller operation than a large farm producing milk intended for pasteurization. Farmers selling more than an average of 500 gallons of raw milk per month will be required to test their milk monthly for bacteria, somatic cells, coliform, and drug and pesticide residue, and to provide the test results to their consumers. The Department of Agriculture may, if they desire, request the test results once a year for review and work with any producers to ensure a good, clean product is being sold.
“We believe consumers are knowledgeable enough to make their own informed choices as to what they drink and eat for their own nutrition,” says Frank DiCesare, a raw milk consumer in Rapid City.
While raw milk for human consumption is technically legal for sale directly to consumers in South Dakota, the recent changes in the rules regulating raw milk clearly make it almost impossible for a producer to run a small raw milk dairy business without interference from the Department of Agriculture.
Dakota Rural Action (www.dakotarural.org) is a grassroots family agriculture and conservation group that organizes South Dakotans to protect family farmers and ranchers, natural resources, and unique way of life.
Frank DiCesare – DRA member and raw milk consumer, (605)641-0494
Trever Gilkerson – Jerseydale Farms raw milk producer, (605)690-3662
Sabrina King – Dakota Rural Action Lobbyist, (605)939-0527, firstname.lastname@example.org
TAKE ACTION – SENATE COMMITTEE HEARING Feb. 7, 2014 (SD)
Update 2/11/14: SB 126 amended but committee vote deferred to 2/19/14 – watch for next step
Sign Petition Now
Attend Senate Committee Hearing
10 a.m. Friday – February 7, 2014
9 a.m. Mountain / 10 a.m. Central
500 East Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501 [directions]
Action Alert: bit.ly/FTCAA-SD020414
South Dakota Senate Bill, SB 126, aims to establish reasonable testing and labeling requirements for producers of raw milk for human consumption selling direct to consumers.
Sign the EMAIL petition:
I urge you to vote YES on SB 126, to regulate the direct sale of raw milk for human consumption with size-appropriate requirements.
Add your own comments and follow up with phone calls to members of the South Dakota Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Your message will also be sent to the editor of a local newspaper unless you deselect that option.
In 2013 the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) announced that it was drafting new rules on the sale of raw milk in the state. Instead of improving public safety, the proposed rules adopted in November make it almost impossible for a producer to run a small raw milk dairy business without interference from SDDA; two out of the state’s five licensed raw milk dairies have already shut down. Read the press release for more information
Passage of SB 126 will protect consumer access to farm fresh milk and create a fair regulatory environment for the small family farmer selling raw milk.
Email & Call Senate Committee Members
Chairman: Sen. Jean Hunhoff, R – District 18
Vice Chairman: Sen. Deb Soholt, R – District 14
Bill Sponsor: Sen. Phil Jensen, R – District 33
Sen. Jim Bradford, D – District 27
Sen. Blake Curd, R – District 12
Sen. Shantel Krebs, R – District 10
Sen. Bruce Rampelberg, R – District 30